North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

August 7, 2012

Progress 2012: Fultondale "on track" with budget

By Melanie Patterson
North Jefferson News

FULTONDALE — Mayor Jim Lowery is pleased with the state of his city.  Fultondale is still in recovery from the April 2011 tornado and has also been affected by the decline in the economy, but Lowery said that has not stopped the city from growing.

“Everything we do, I have in mind the importance of the quality of life for the citizens of Fultondale,” he said. “We hope in doing that, we make it an attractive town where others will want to live and shop here.”

Lowery said city officials have worked hard to make sure all aspects of Fultondale prosper — commercially and residentially.

There is no argument the city has exploded commercially, with the opening of the Promenade Shopping Center in 2007. Other businesses have also opened or expanded in Fultondale since then.

One area that makes Lowery especially proud is the amenities the city offers to residents.

“My concept was to go to senior citizens all the way down to toddlers, and then back up,” he said. “We’ve done that by building the senior center first, then the elementary school.”

Next came the Children’s Park for young kids, and most recently, the city renovated Black Creek Park, which hosts adult softball leagues and family events such as the Founders Day Festival and the Fultondale Arts Festival.

Financially, Fultondale is doing well. The 2012 operating budget was $10.7 million.

“We’re right on track with our budget,” Lowery said. “We were able to use surplus money in the tornado cleanup effort.”

The city had $4.5 million in reserve this year, which it used in tornado recovery work such as debris removal and demolishing homes destroyed by the storm.

On the development side, the city recently passed a $3.9 million bond for a new library and fire station, and a $3.25 million bond for the Urban Revitalization Project.

The new fire station on Walker Chapel Road is complete; it opened April 27. Officials broke ground on July 23 for the new library.

As for the revitalization effort, crews are currently working on the On Tap Sports Cafe on Walker Chapel Road.

Officials are also working on other projects, including possible office condominiums, hotels being rebuilt after the tornado, the revitalization of U.S. Hwy. 31 and the next phase of the Promenade Shopping Center.